Thursday 18 June 2020

Lockdown Day 87 - Allotment Update - Carrots

For quite a few years we struggled to crow carrots, yes we got a few but they were mostly riddled with the black marks of carrot fly. I read that carrot flies do not fly more than a couple of feet off the ground so we wondered whether we could grow the carrots in some kind of raised container.

We hit on the idea of using tyre stacks. I found out at a local garage that firms have to pay to dispose of them so they were glad to let us have a few as it reduced their costs! Also, tyres are frequently found dumped in the countryside and so we've added a few that way too, doing our bit to help clear up the awful fly-tipping that goes on.

At the base of the tyre stacks are perennial weeds as the heat built up in the base will be enough to compost them thoroughly. Then layers of ordinary composting and finally standard bought compost mixed with sharp sand from a builders' merchant. This is best started over winter as it takes quite a lot of material to fill a tyre stack which is three tyres high. At the end of the season the compost can be spread across the allotment.

Then, carrots can be planted and they take a week or two to germinate. The tyres do dry out quite easily so it is important to make sure there's sufficient moisture in the stacks but not too frequently as you want to encourage the roots to work downwards in search of water. Be careful also watering the seeds as they have a tendency to wash to one side of the stack and also when the carrots are very young they need gentle watering.

The carrots are very hardy when in these stacks, the tyres act as insulation in the colder months and some straw can be put on top to further insulate these, and we've been able to keep a supply of carrots going through to February or thereabouts.

The following picture was taken four years ago when the carrots were on the same patch as part of our four year rotation, and you can see that the nasturtiums can be used to hide the tyre stacks if you find them unsightly. Cosmos or a climbing plant can be used in the same way. Mint, chives and lavender can act as distractions for carrot flies if you companion plant. We grow carrots in the same rotational bed area as onions, garlic and parsnips.

No comments:

Post a Comment